In Toronto, Ont, Canada, initial studies theorizing that there may be a possible link between vein blockages and multiple sclerosis were reportedly found inconsistent by a team of researchers and physicians. The initial study suggested that the blockages known as chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency, (CCSVI) are found more often in people who have multiple sclerosis (MS) than individuals who do not.

Andreas Laupacis, MD, of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto led the team of researchers and physicians. 

Paolo Zamboni, MD, of the University of Ferrar in Italy, reportedly set forth the original contested theory that MS might be caused by blockages in the veins in the neck, facilitating iron deposition in the brain and triggering an autoimmune reaction. Zamboni suggested that by unblocking the veins by mechanically widening them could potentially improve the symptoms of MS.

Canadian researchers reportedly analyzed eight published studies conducted over the United States, Germany, Italy, and Japan that used ultrasound to diagnose CCSVI and compared MS patients with non-MS patients. The researchers indicated in their findings that the quality of the studies varied and the results were vastly different. Studies were also reportedly small and the descriptions provided by those conducting the ultrasounds were incomplete.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research financed the study. Portions of the study were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. 

Laupacis stated that there is great controversy over whether CCSVI causes MS on both sides of the issue. Laupacis pointed out that despite the differences among published studies, overall findings suggest that there may be an association between CCSVI and MS. The differences in the study results, Laupacis says, means that more research needs to be done. 

Source: St. Michael’s Hospital